The biggest chance to rethink our railways since privatisation

15 January 2019

The government has appointed Keith Williams as the chair of the biggest review of our railways since privatisation began. This is your chance to have your say over the future of our railway.

You haven't been asked your opinion on privatisation since 1994! Here's your chance:

Comment below to sign this letter and tell Keith why you want to see public ownership of the railways.


Dear Keith Williams, 

Our railways are clearly not currently fit for purpose.

Train travel has never been so popular. But the service passengers receive is deteriorating. We've seen repeated delays and cancellations across the network. Trains are overcrowded. Rail fares continue to spiral up and up. Train companies have failed to invest in new infrastructure. Our railways are broken. 

We believe that public ownership would help solve these problems - so we're really happy to hear that you've promised to keep public ownership on the table in your review.

By taking private companies out of the rail network, we can:

  • Remove shareholder profits from the system and reduce costs.
  • Use these savings to fund reduced fares, and a rail service run for people, not profit.

By putting the public at the heart of our railways, we can:

  • Ensure they get the investment they desperately need.
  • Use this investment to improve services, reduce delays, and upgrade the rolling stock.

76% of the public agree, and we want to see our railways in public hands.


The public.

Comment below - Why do you want public ownership of your railways?

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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karl roome replied on Permalink

current system is a complete shambles and only benefits shareholders not the passengers or public

Ellen Thomas replied on Permalink

Northern Rail offers an apauling service. Help is desperately needed to resolve the issue of the guards on the trains.

Donald Baldwin replied on Permalink

Why should the British rail users subsidise railways in France, Germany, Holland etc it stinks. At least we have East Coast back which should never been handed over to Virgin Statgecoach. East coast was making a profit for the tax payer. I believe that all essential services should be publicly owed and not handed on a plate to who ever and end up ripping off the public. I do not vote labour and never would while Corbyn is leader.

Jane Brook replied on Permalink

public transport is too important a service to be left to private ownership which inevitably puts profit before the public. e need a transport infrastructure that is ft for purpose, that is good enough , cheap enough, regular enough, reliable enough to entice people out of their air polluting cars and into public transport. We need a policy for rail services that a take risks and look to the long term good and not at short term profit. When the east coast line came back into pubic ownership recently, albeit briefly, the service was the best it had been in years - and it made a profit that could be re-invested back into the system. But it was sold off again on purely ideological grounds. Not good enough....

Iain Reilly replied on Permalink

The last few years has shown that privatisation does not work. People want a better deal from the railways with more investment and less waste through corporate dividends.

Carly Jeffrey replied on Permalink

Privatisation hasn't worked. Profits have been made for a few while the service declines and is reduced, and fares have gone up more than they should. In other European countries where transport is publicly run or heavily subsidised, their services are far better.

Peter Underwood replied on Permalink

Private profit and the interests of shareholders has always trumped the public interest and government has regularly bailed out failing firms. Time for proper public investment in a vital public asset - and that means public ownership.

Graham Waldheim replied on Permalink

If the French, Germans, Spanish, Italians and most other European countries can run fast, efficient, effective and cheap publically run railways then why can't we in the UK. It's nonsence that profits should be skimmed off to pay the shareholders in private rail companies (or foreign state owned railways where they operate in the UK) instead of reinvestment in UK railways.

Peter Steward replied on Permalink

The railways are a public service, and should be run as a nationalised rail service. Not putting profits intp private shareholders

Jenny Wilson replied on Permalink

I have had bad experiences where trains were running late and it was decided to stop the service and turn it around. To finish our journey of only a few miles we had to wait an hour. There were several other trains which could have enabled us to complete our journey but because they were run by other companies they wouldn't stop. Couldn't help but contrast this with a situation in Avignon when trains were stuck due to forest fires near Marseille. The station master was able to stop all trains coming through as SNCF is a national service! He had the platform cleared in no time and no grumpy passengers! We use trains a lot and it becomes ever more apparent that the stock is old and companies don't have enough in reserve.

Joanne Dunsmore replied on Permalink

Must have all public transport put in to the public's hands. trains cancelled, buses not turning up or come early and late fares are expensive certain stations in rural areas have been closed leaving passengers with no train service to rely on.

Alan Hampson replied on Permalink

Another major drawback of the 1997 privatisation, which was rushed through with little thought by a government that knew it was likely to lose the general election, has been the complete lack of co-ordination between regions, infrastructure, property and rolling stock sectors, the multiplicity of franchise holders, ticketing managers, maintenance contractors, and so on. It would have been difficult to imagine a worse way of arranging things. I have used the railways regularly since the 1960s, and in my experience, British Rail was never as bad, either as it was made out to be by a churlish media, or as the present (lack of) organisation. It is highly significant that in two world wars, the railway companies were placed under national control, as the only way to ensure efficient use and management of a vital transport resource. After both wars, nationalisation was mooted, but the first time, a compromise was reach by merging the 120-odd separate companies into just four. The second time resulted in the formation of British Railways, and it is often forgotten, or not realised, that BR was actually in profit for the first seven years (1948-55), until political dogma - not business sense - started the long decline towards mayhem again.

Naomi Williams replied on Permalink

I object to the shareholders in private companies getting huge dividends when the railways in this country are in such poor shape. Trains are overcrowded, often dirty, rarely punctual and horrifically expensive compared with those in other European countries. Surely we could do better.

Ann Campbell replied on Permalink

Privatisation has not proved to be efficient nor cost effective.Rail and connecting bus travel should be not for profit publically controlled.

emma grant replied on Permalink

Let's take the profits that private ownership squeeze out of the rail system and improve the network and customer experience.

Katherine Dixon replied on Permalink

We're subsidising private companies so they can make profits from failures. That is not efficient government. Take the railways back into public ownership and we can re-invest any money made, or if money is lost, at least we won't be funding companies to do that for us.

John Woodland replied on Permalink

I want our railways to be run by the UK without putting money into the hands of foreign investors who use the money to subsidise their own railways. We deserve a rail network of the standard of the rest of Europe with comparable fares and service.

Martin Staley replied on Permalink

Privatised railways do not work. The recent mess made of the East Coast franchise clearly shows this as once taken back into public control it flourished. It’s time to take our railways back to public ownership to protect the public from the profiteers that keep destroying the service.

Colin Taylor replied on Permalink

I remember a time, under British Rail, where I could go to my local station and know that I would pay a single price for my ticket, without having to navigate a jumble of different tariffs for different railway companies.

I also remember that British Rail Engineering was the envy of the world. Indeed, the Class 43 HST power cars, intended as a stop-gap until the Advanced Passenger Train came into service, are only now, after 34 years, being replaced. Since Privatisation, such innovation has been left to foreign companies, with consequent loss of advanced engineering expertise.

Sandra Lawrence replied on Permalink

Please put the Railways back into public ownership.

Jacqueline Smith replied on Permalink

The only way to keep railway fare increases affordable is to break-away from private ownership back to public ownership. Without shareholders receiving the profits, these can keep fares within reasonable increments in line with inflation, as well as more investment in better rolling stock (carriages). Also, Britain needs to keep the train companies in close liaison with network rail.

Annie Sly replied on Permalink

I object strongly to the idea that if trains are run by private companies introducing competition and bringing fares down for commuters!

This clearly does not work it’s been tried in the NHS hospital I live near and they could not run the hospital properly and have profits for shareholders

Public transport is a service people can’t get to work or anywhere without it. It is essential and should be owned by the public and any profits made should go back into the railways.

Jan Birtwell replied on Permalink

Public transport should be a service for the public not a means of making a profit for shareholders.

Hilary Williams replied on Permalink

I support the public ownership of the railways as an important utility. The current system has had a good go at it, but is just not working.

Heloise Graham replied on Permalink

Employ the correct managers and all that profit could go back to the railway.... See deuche bahn! Take the private away from our railways!

Kay Densley replied on Permalink

Other countries railway services are publicly owned and are far better and cheaper than ours. Rail fares and services are currently appalling and not fit for purpose.

John Pritchard replied on Permalink

I use the railways to visit family who live in many areas of the UK. It is also one of the biggest reasons why I do not see them as often as I would like. The price of a ticket has risen drastically over the years with no sign of relenting and has made it unaffordable for me to use on a regular basis

With the cost of living going up e.g. electricity, gas, food, rent. It is near impossible to make the wage I earn to last and I live on a budget where every penny is accounted for, so as not to overspend and go into debt. And please read me correctly here I am not counting every penny so I can afford a new car, holiday, or any other luxury item this is so I do NOT go into debt.

I am a labour supporter, I joined the party when Jeremy Corbyn came to the leadership contest and I have been a member ever since and will remain so.

I support him and the Labour policy of taking back into the public sector those industries that are essential to the running of a major industrialised country. Such as: public transport, energy providers and the health care.

All the above industries have privatised wholesale or through underfunding and selling of bit by bit such as the NHS.

The private providers have done nothing but run down the industries such as the railways by lowering the wages of the staff, not maintaining or updating the infrastructure and by taking the money and giving it to shareholders rather than reinvesting it back into the sector from which the money came.

It is time now that the railways where taken back into the public sector. The argument that the public sector can not do it as efficiently as the private no longer has any weight. The East Coast Railway was the perfect example of a failed private sector franchise that was taken back into the public sector and became one of the most trusted and well-run railway lines (one I used on a regular basis when I commuted from Berwick upon Tweed to Newcastle several times a week for college). The East Coast railway as I assume you will be aware was sold off into the private sector and failed miserably within a year and had to be bailed out at considerable cost to the tax payer again (a recurring trend with the private sector, the financial crash of 2008 being the biggest of them all since the great depression and again the poorest and weakest in society have had to pay for).

Many are tired of the old trope of private knows best, it does not. I t is time to rethink how the essential industries are run in the United Kingdom. Whether it is renationalised now or under an eventual Labour government that will be elected into office by people like myself fighting every step of the way. But rest assured it will happen and I hope you are the one to help make it happen and make commuters lives a lot easier by not seeing a huge chunk of their income gone each month for the privilege of an overcrowded, underfunded, overpriced train.

And I will end on appositive note I read an article that Luxembourg is set to trial a brave new initiative to tackle road congestion and climate change (one of the most pressing dangers of human history) and mark a cultural shift in their society from cars to public transport and reduce their carbon emissions.

Alan Lowey replied on Permalink

People not profit.

Kelvin Mattock replied on Permalink

An effective, coordinated national system for all of the nation. For all the people not useless and inconsiderate profit at the expense of the citizenry and the nation.

J Allsebrook replied on Permalink

People are making profit from our public services.

This is why travelers are not important on the railways.

Good government is about people being able to live without hinderence and problems being caused by profiteering.

Charles Mapleston replied on Permalink

When the East Coast Main Line had to be returned to public ownership because the private companies reneighed on their deal, it made a good profit under public ownership, which proves it can work. This should be extended to the entire network as the existing franchises naturally expire.

Margaret McAlister replied on Permalink

It makes common sense, like all the services moving from local to central points the outer edges of the community get side tracked, more and more, you watch it for years, like district councils, the places that the people who are supposed to be looking out for the community Live get better services, that is obvious, same with the buses the private companies get funding which goes to the shareholders and not to the infastructure, same with the railways, the companies that supposedly run the service, get the funding but it goes straight into the pockets of the shareholders.

Aileen Hood replied on Permalink

Many other countries have publicly-owned railways. Without having to pay shareholder profits, there is more money to invest in better services, better infrastructure, and lower fares. Our railways are over-priced owing to have to pay shareholders - and they deliver very poor service.

Mary Doyle replied on Permalink

How can we continue to 'reward' failure. We continue to suffer something less than a service yet pay the most in the world but receive probably the worst in the world. Quite a view of the U.K as we continue to subsidise road transport, but have pollution that breaks WHO guidelines in other countries. We have signed up to a 'carbonless economy' when is that going to happen & rail is part of the answer. Sadly at the moment it's part of the problem.

Andy Woodgate replied on Permalink

Rail privatisation has had very little to do with the huge increase in passenger numbers, which has instead been due to demographic change and commuting growth. We need to stop seeing public money siphoned off into shareholder profits and instead invest it in infrastructure and services. The railways belong in public hands as a strategic and socially essential utility. The privatisation experiment has failed - now is the time for renationalisation.

Melissa Butcher replied on Permalink

At present our train network is not fit for purpose. As someone who regularly uses trains in Europe, I can see that our network here is overpriced with poor local services and often poor rolling stock. On the other hand, public ownership has been shown to be efficient and profitable (eg when the east coast line was under government control). We need to renationalise with a vision for a truly national network that services local communities as well as urban centres, also keeping in mind a commitment to changing transport options as a means to a better environment.

Rod Stapley replied on Permalink

Our rail network is a natural monopoly and, as such, should be owned and run by a he state, who have a good track record at running the system when allowed.

howard lane replied on Permalink

Public utilities should be run for the all the public, not for investors. They need state funding and proper governance

trevor d waywell replied on Permalink

Im 77 and have seen the railways through the 40s 50s 60s and seventies' The present service on our railways is worse now than after the last war .

Trains were always on time a far better service than today's absolute chaos. Privatization is good for investors only completely ignoring the commuters who depend entirely on the service .This governments priorities are not for the commuter but huge cream offs for the richer Tory INVESTING voter.

Bring back public ownership of this once proud service .

Brenda Hamblin replied on Permalink

I am SO exasperated with Southern Rail. So many journeys have proved difficult, distressing, disastrous and very frustrating. No-one seems to hold them to account - and the fares have gone up AGAIN!

Khadijah Moinie replied on Permalink

I would love to use the train rather than my car for getting around, but it is just too expensive. So expensive that travellers have to be tempted with discount railcards. Soon only people of 30-60 years old will be required to pay undiscounted fares. Surely it makes sense to nationalise the railways and make rail travel affordable for everyone

Daphne Bullock replied on Permalink

The East Coast line was taken back into public ownership a few years ago. It improved dramatically, it was later handed over to Virgin and deteriorated rapidly. Trains were cancelled on a regular basis, food quality was much poorer. We now have LNER running the service under public ownership, again, there is already a noticeable improvement. Please, please, reinstate public ownership. Northern Rail are an absolute disgrace, 40 year old trains that are absolutely filthy and extremely overcrowded.

Paul Rechnitz replied on Permalink

We were told that subsidies would not be needed bacause of private ownership and investment. That hasn't happened. Instead, the subsidies have got ever larger with a sevice that is fragmented,too expensive, chaotic and unreliable .

P Hanson replied on Permalink

How is it that other state railways can run our system, but we cannot have our own state running our railways. In 1923 because there were too many separate railway company's, action was taken to simplify

the situation, with the botched privatisation of 1994 a similar situation was allowed to recur.

Grant Ozolins replied on Permalink

It would be a rare commuter today that would argue that privatisation has delivered for them. Nationalisation may not fix every problem, but a system that works for the people and is accountable to them is infinitely preferable to the situation today.

simon ball replied on Permalink

Got to be worth kicking privatisation into touch - and it gets rid of Chris Grayling too...

Gets my vote

David Pracy replied on Permalink

The worst thing about the railways is the fragmentation which means that millions of pounds are wasted on pen-pushers and bean-counters arguing the toss when things go wrong. Now the minister is 'Failing Grayling' who has a track record of doctrinaire privatisations such as the probation service, which then have to be reversed by the next minister. According to a recent BMG/Independent poll, even 56% of Conservatives are in favour of renationalisation. Please listen to the 76% who support renationalisation. Thank you.

Rod Bailey replied on Permalink

The railways have become dysfunctional from far too much fragmentation. Connecting services for example do not work when an arriving train has been delayed and the departing train may be fined for leaving late. The latter leaves the platform to avoid the fine even when the former is arriving meaning the individual passenger has to wait for his next service which can often be hourly.

We have ended up with a public service not serving the public! The individual train companies have no interest in serving the passenger!

The re-nationalisation would allow a return to greater integration and efficiencies because £millions are saved in the tendering process and profits to shareholders.

Railways are a service industry for the benefit of us all not the shareholders of the private company's.

Rod Bailey

B price replied on Permalink

It would be a good plan to make public transport public. As in owned by us for us. If you really want private ownership of transport so much then privatize private transport. Build no roads, mend no roads with public money. Put all roads out to tender and allow companies to own them and charge for travel on them. (Seem silly and unworkable? A hindrance to travel or movement of goods? Well der, of course! Just as it is for railways.) Do you get it? Only put into private hands things that are non essential, that matter not if they fail. In our railways, as in so many things rip off Britain is a laughing stock. (It is cheaper and very much quicker for me to travel by taxi than train.)

Sara Strawson replied on Permalink

I cannot agree more with most of the comments above and can only reiterate what others are saying. We are a laughing stock in so many ways. It is also essential that we have a public transport system that works and is affordable for everyone. If we want to move forward and try and avert the climate disaster that is looming we have to ensure this is possible. I, for one, can't afford to travel by train very ofter and that is a real treat. I have enjoyed the luxury of train travel for years - so much better than battling down the motorways and struggling through horrendous traffic. However, until it is public owned again we will not have an integrated and reasonable service. The public should be benefitting not shareholders!

Lena Britton replied on Permalink

The prices and services are unbelievable. The worst in Europe. And all in the name of profit. Shameless to exploit passengers like this.

Joe Price replied on Permalink

Let's get the railways back in British hands.

Caroline Hope replied on Permalink

I want public ownership because this would be in the public interest, and more profitable.

Naomi Bowen replied on Permalink

I am a very frequent train traveller, making use of a number of different train operating companies. Although I am retired, delays and cancellations can still cause me problems if I have an appointment to keep at my destination, or am being met by friends or family. However, the single biggest concern I have is overcrowding, even on off-peak trains, because some TOCs save money by refusing to lease sufficient rolling stock to accommodate all expected passengers and their luggage, even on routes that encompass a number of airport stops or call at popular tourist destinations. I believe public ownership would lead to improvements in both these areas, and would also contribute to a much needed simplification of ticketing and off-peak designations (which currently vary from company to company), plus improvements to timetabling - unlike the shambles experienced last summer! A single public provider would also prevent the buck-passing that wastes time and effort whenever something goes wrong ... I am old enough to remember (fondly) the days of British Railways when everyone knew where responsibility lay for dealing with any problems that arose, whether in track, signalling, driver shortage etc. and as a result such problems were dealt with promptly and economically. PLEASE USE YOUR REVIEW TO RECOMMEND PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF THE RAILWAYS!

Tess Green replied on Permalink

Rail travel is an important public service which should not be left to private companies to provide. Safety and value for money would be better served in the public sector and staff pay and conditions would probably be better too.

Jan Voisey replied on Permalink

The railways and rail network should return to one publicly owned unit. This worked well pre-privatisation.

Paul Taylor replied on Permalink

Transport is a basic element of the country's infrastrucure all of which should be publicly owned and managed for the benefit of all. Surpluses would then go into investment rather than private profit.

David Gibson replied on Permalink

Those who peddle the privatisation dogma (because that is what it is) compare the present day Railway with British Rail of the 1960s. At the time of privatisation, British Rail was one of the most efficient and well-run railways in Europe. That is not just the view of people like us but it was a proven fact, and if BR was still in public hands it would have been many times better than the privatised network of today. Had the vast amounts of public money that have been thrown at the private rail companies been invested in BR, we would have had a Railway beyond our dreams. Privatisation is all about doing things down to the lowest price instead of up to an acceptable standard

colin replied on Permalink

I am absolutely sick of hearing of companies such as Virgin taking on the East-Coast rail franchise, and being paid for it, only to turn around in a few months and walk away from it, leaving the tax-payer to pick up the bill, and then for Virgin (or similar) to come back the next day and offer to run it again, and so we enter the same farce. Why should the tax payer take the risk, while the likes of Branson takes all of the profit?

The privitised model was set up to deliberately fragment the railways, leaving each private company with a monopoly, giving them a monopoly to print money. The whole model is broken and needs replacing with something that works. It is definitely time to return the railways to public ownership.

Roberto replied on Permalink

I worked on the Traffic side of BR(E). I watched dedicated BR workers do their job in keeping the four foot (safe) for stock to travel over. On the lines I've travelled on in recent years I wouldn't run a pushchair over some of the joints and tracks, and we pay them hard earned wages through fares for the upkeep of the PWAY. It's contracted out to other companies and should be back in workers pockets who are employed by public ownership, not spent on luxuries for themselves. Everybody is a chairman or a manager, there are no labourers.

Linda Warman replied on Permalink

It is wrong that we, the public, should subsidise railways in order that investors should profit. It is astounding that Mr.Grayling should plan to hand further contracts to private companies after huge government bailouts.

Mark de Barr replied on Permalink

The railways have become increasingly fragmented and unaccountable under private ownership.

Mark King replied on Permalink

Travelling by rail in the rest of developed Europe is a pleasure - inexpensive, uncrowded, straightforward, reliable, clean and user-friendly; the privatised rail systems in Britain, on the other hand, are an utter scandal - insanely expensive, packed to the gills, very complicated to navigate their ever-shifting routes and prices, thoroughly unreliable, ufailingly rude and unhygienic and focussed solely on extracting unworthy profits to benefit private owners and shareholders. Britain is leagues behind the rest of Europe in public services, especially transport, and this has everything to do with privatisation and the greed factor. It is shameful, it is not fit for service and is blatantly exhorbitant. God knows what foreign visitors, accustomed to smooth, affordable public transport, make of this outrageous scam that British passengers have to put up with. Britain is so much in retrograde now that our tawdry infrastructures snd public services are falling further and further behind the rest of the continent. Get all the private rail-route owners, subcontractors and off-shore share-holders out of public transport and RENATIONALISE NOW.

John Smith-Warren replied on Permalink

Having only worked for the privately owned Railway for 17+ years before retirement, the one thing that became more obvious the longer I worked was that having a fragmented system does not work and the longer it went on the worse the friction between each separate company became. And the more self interested each operator became. Departments have been set up to claim or counter claim for delays purely to look after the effect on that companies profits to the detriment of the passengers. In a modern country the people have a need to be educated, healthy and mobile to this end that means access to a public education system, a Public Health Service and a publicaly owned and operated transport system.

Roderick Thirke... replied on Permalink

My local line out of Waterloo (South Western Railways through Chiswick) changed franchisee about year ago, presumably because the new incumbents were 'more competitive'. This has meant a marked deterioration in the service : fewer trains running on time, more cancellations, and an intransigent dispute with the unions - admittedly inherited from the previous owners. Whatever else is going on, the tendering process isn't working - but the franchisees' profits don't seem to suffer.

Klaus van den K... replied on Permalink

Public transport, especially railways, are part of the infrastructure and should be available and accessible, financially and geographically, to everyone. It is not a business for shareholders aiming to make profits.

John Ashmore replied on Permalink

The handing back of the east coast main line, and the consequent excellent public management and the improved service proved 'public' can do it better!! Also, with proper public accountability, public ownership will remove the unscheduled bailing out of private sector companies with taxpayers money, when they get their sums drastically wrong.

Astrid Brown replied on Permalink

The railways were nationalised in the first place because the private companies who ran them at the time took no notice of the users.

As now they were too busy worrying about profit and paying shareholders. The same thing has happened again. The sooner the rail service is nationalised the better for passengers. Public transport is what it's called transport for the public not something that is used to make shareholders money.

Liz Wood replied on Permalink

We need an integrated rail network that is run as a public service and not to benefit shareholders. All the profit made must be ploughed back in, and Government must invest, to upgrade the railway network and rolling stock, pay an adequate number of well-trained staff, in order to create a modern railway fit for purpose that will benefit industry and business as well as commuters and tourists and that will encourage people to travel by train instead of by car, thus reducing dangerous air pollution and congestion on our roads.

Jan F replied on Permalink

Privatisation hasn't worked, time to take the railways back into public ownership.

Jackie Britton replied on Permalink

Stop lining the pockets of the owners of privatised railways with public money. Take railways back into public ownership and recycle the takings into improvements.

Andy replied on Permalink

Rail privatization has been a failure on almost every level. It has failed in any significant way to improve punctuality; failed to improve infrastructure; failed to improve rolling stock; failed to improve safety and security. It is time to look again at all options.

Patricia Marjor... replied on Permalink

As a youngster I travelled by train frequently. Since the railways were privatised there is no way I can afford this.

I believe they should be renationalised so that ordinary people can once again use their services.

Jo Barwick replied on Permalink

Services for the whole country are better run centrally. If our money is being used, then no money should be siphoned off to pay for several executives, who have tier hands in many businesses. For them they can just write any problems off against all their other businesses, whereas when something is run by the council it is run by people who actually use the service and understand what people need. Sustainability and pollution are important and these cannot be managed by separate companies, but need central decision making and clear financing, directly to the service itself.

Stephen Collings replied on Permalink

Stop the profits leaving this country and subsidising other countries networks, keep the profits here reinvest and run the service for the people.

Phillip Ofield replied on Permalink

The privatised system is totally broken, the time table is not in the national interest and too many private companies have ‘bought’ rolling stock that is not fit for purpose (Cross County under Virgin control) sanity need bringing back and lawyers throwing out! I work in the rail industry for BR and during privatisation, BR was far better run with what it had that any TOC today. What more the profits stayed in the UK, not sent to Berlin, Paris or The Hague.

Grahame Bligh replied on Permalink

I want public ownership of our railways because many of the trains are too overcrowded and expensive to travel on with yet another rise in fares this year. A poor service iof delayed and cancelled trains has been experienced far too often. It’s not acceptable for the public to asked to pay higher fares while the services don’t improve on many routes. While the profits of shareholders has increased the railway staff and train drivers are being blamed for latest fair increase by Chris Grayling use to union demand for wage increases. The travelling public are fed up with a private operators charging more for a poor service which is heavily subsidised by the government.

Marie Walsh replied on Permalink

It's just common sense - renationalise... and create an integrated, sustainable transport system for people not profit.

Elizabeth Wood replied on Permalink

We need a publicly financed, integrated railway system, run for the benefit of the public, not for shareholders, with adequate Government investment and where every penny made is ploughed back into the system to upgrade the rail network and the rolling stock, to pay a fully adequate number of well-trained staff (drivers, guards, engineers, maintenance workers ....)in order to create a modern railway that will stimulate business and industry as well as carrying freight and tempting ordinary travellers out of their cars (thus reducing dangerous air pollution and road congestion).

Teresa Granner replied on Permalink

Private rail is not working.The fares are continually going up, but the cost of living isn't. I am supposed to travel for my journalism, but the cost is ridiculous! So I have had to miss out reporting on several news stories because of it. Also people have been unable to move because of crowded trains which is ridiculous, not to say downright dangerous. Also Luxenbourg have scrapped their public transport fares all together. We should do the same.

Doug Simpson replied on Permalink

I note that, already, they're saying that trains on HS2 will be less frequent and will run more slowly to keep costs down. Had it been April 1st I would have thought someone was joking. This vanity project must be halted before it wastes any more money. Much needed upgrades to existing services - such as Trans-Pennine - should be put into effect as quickly as possible. Time for the people to make some decisions on these matters - not Failing Grayling and Co.

Harry Percy replied on Permalink

Privatisation was always about ideology not about making the railways work better for the customer. Most European countries have railways which work better than ours so we should look at the way that they achieve that to find a better model for the UK to run its railways in future.

Linda Murgatroyd replied on Permalink

People want reliability. CHoice is less important. If we had reliable services which serve more of the country well that would be a great improprement. The railways should be a core part of our national infrastructure so that people can get out of cars. This would improve air quality, help reduce régional inequalities and enable those who do need to travel by road to have less congestion. Let;s get freight and people back onto the railways . This can really only be done by renationalisation, as there will be a need for some services to subsidise others in the public interest.

Dave Fyall replied on Permalink

I live in the NE of England and the performance of the nationalised service on the East Coast mainline returning profits to the Nation was a contrast to the failure of ALL FRANCHISES agreed by our privatisation-obsessed Department of Transport.

Benjamin Cowell replied on Permalink

It was an absolute disgrace for British Rail to be privatised back in the 1990s and should have remained within public ownership. The railways in this country are a vital public service and should be nationalised as soon as possible.

Julia Patrick replied on Permalink

Cancelled trains! Impossible journeys when you can’t make connections because of lateness or cancellations! Packed dirty trains and no seats available! Not enough bike storage on trains! Unaffordable tickets! Shall I go on? Confusing prices! Disparity of price between online and in-person ticket sales; antique trains with no journey information displayed; lack of staff around to ask; poor security on trains; no trains whatsoever on Boxing Day, etc etc etc...

Hugh Crozier replied on Permalink

The railways serve a public interest and are too essential to be subject to the whims and profit motives of private companies. When properly funded, British Rail ran an excellent and up to date service.

Bob replied on Permalink

We've been kicked around since Beaching in the 60's. It's never been right since then. It's about time the public did the kicking..

Robert MacCarthy replied on Permalink

The railways were privatised by people who no longer believed in broad-based decision-making for the public good. They turned away from the challenge of supporting the democratic and accountable management of an essential feature of modern society and instead handed it to people at the top of the corporate world whose priorities are to maximise the return on their investment. Instead of paying those profits to remote shareholders or hiding them in tax havens they should be invested in the railways, in infrastructure and technology, in the skills and creative efforts of all who work in them. The railways used to be a source of national pride. Only in public ownership can they be a source of pride again. And what, truly, could be more important than that?

Julie Jennings replied on Permalink

Public transport is an essential service and should be publicly owned to ensure it provides a comprehensive and reliable mode of transport. Running the railways for the profit of shareholders is contrary to this core function. Public transport should be available at affordable cost to all - that includes trains, trams and buses. Public transport should be considered a service for all.

William Johnston replied on Permalink

Allowing private companies to run services is supposed to make them competitive. Since each railway company holds a monopoly over their particular franchise, this clearly is not the case. Even where services are duplicated - such as on sections of the Brighton mainline - people do not choose services out of any sort of loyalty, or even on price, but because they want the next available train.

To exacerbate matters, there is a constant conflict between the companies and Network rail, with each blaming the other for anything that goes wrong. If the network and the services are all under public ownership, then these sorts of disputes becomes meaningless.

Alan Rose replied on Permalink

It's disgraceful that Richard Branson's Virgin were allowed to slip out of the North East franchise without paying the contractual penalties! Talk about the old boy network - a scandal. Of course private companies will cherry-pick the most profitable lines while leaving the less profitable to the public to maintain. This is monopoly capitalism, not fairness and social justice

Frederick Rodriguez replied on Permalink

Definitely renationalise! Railways in state hands gives the government far more effective means to ensure that they are adequately maintained and that we all get a decent, effective, reliable and efficient service and control the fares from rising excessively. Then it will respond to needs rather than profit motives.

Martin Stockwell replied on Permalink

British Rail may have had its faults, but the current fragmented system has the same faults, while diverting money to investors, rather than into improving the infrastructure. It makes sense to have the whole rail provision in the hands of one organisation.

Graham Warwick replied on Permalink

We used to moan about British Rail, but, oh, how IK wish they were back. Fares would be cheaper, co-ordination of the network would be efficient and timetables would be maintained.

Rebecca replied on Permalink

An essential public service and natural monopoly cannot be run as a market-based for-profit business.

John Breeds replied on Permalink

Please release our railways from the need to create profits for shareholders and improve the service instead.


John Breeds MBE

Mark Bobbitt replied on Permalink

If there is enough profit in our railways to garner interest from around the world then they should be renationalised so that profit becomes completely reinvested. Privatisation has now been lining the pockets of big business and shareholders for years and has provided nothing but misery for rail users. Bring it back!

James Marsh replied on Permalink

My wife and i travel on the railways approx once every 2 weeks. We have to change at Preston and its embarrassing to listen to the announcer apologising for lateness or cancellation on Northern Trains . With excuses like this is due to a train being taken out of service or there weren't enough drivers I dont know how they think them up because everyone is different do they have them written down in a book somewhere. I never new delays or crenelation of trains like this when it was British Rail and you were never jammed in like sardines there was always plenty of rolling stock and engines to replace a broken down one >The best thoing all round would be re nationalisation not more privateisation

Adrian Howell replied on Permalink

Nationalise the railways. It's the only answer. Read the comments above. Once nationalised, hopefully the roads will be a little bit quieter and the air will be a lot less polluted.

You know it makes sense...….the country has spoken!


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